Alex O'Brien

Hearing

How to protect your ears from the cold

How to protect your ears from the cold

An earache can be a miserable experience for anyone. Otitis media, a middle ear infection, can cause this pain as can otitis externa, commonly called "swimmers ear”. After the infection is over, though, the pain can persist, recurring when cold air touches still-sensitive tissues. 

With winters icy winds just around the corner, with them blows in the season of earaches and ailments. To try to dull the risk this year round, follow these four tips.

1. Block the cold

Mufflers or hats for this purpose should completely cover the ears and be made of a solid fabric or multiple layers, to block out wind on blustery days. 

2. Medicine

Over-the-counter analgesics, such as pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can be used if ear pain does occur. Refer to your physician or pharmacist for the proper dose, as other medications as well as age and weight can influence the amount required.

3. Stay away from smoke

Stay away from sources of smoke, such as cigarettes, when recovering, as this can exacerbate the condition.

4. Know your risk

Keep your vaccinations up-to-date, including those that guard against the flu. In general, remain vigilant about conditions associated with your ear, nose and throat — for example, if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you may be more susceptible to ear infections than people who do not suffer from this disease.

Related links:

7 easy ways to get water out of your ear

Childhood illnesses linked to hearing loss later in life

7 myths about hard of hearing people that aren’t true